Long Beach State shuts out archival Cal State Fullerton 3-0 in Game 1
McCaughan pitched seven brilliant innings/Photo: Matt Masin/Orange County Register

In a matchup of two west coast powerhouses and bitter rivals, it was Long Beach State who got the best of Big West rival Cal State Fullerton 3-0 in Game 1 of the best-of-three Super Regional. Lucas Tancas, Ramsey Romano and Luke Rasmussen each drove in a run for LBSU.

Dirtbags starter Darren McCaughan pitched seven stellar innings, giving up just two hits while striking out seven. The Big West Pitcher of the Year now has pitched 122.1 innings this season, the most by a Long Beach pitcher since Cesar Ramos tossed 126 in 2005.

Three-run first enough offense for Long Beach State

Long Beach put up runs in support of McCaughan early. Jarren Duran worked a walk during a nine pitch at-bat. Daniel Jackson sacrificed Duran to second and Tancas singled up the middle to put the Dirtbags in front. After Brock Lundqvist struck out looking, Romano then drove in Jackson with an RBI double to make it 2-0 and Rasmussen capped the scoring with an opposite field double.

Tancas got the Long Beach State offense started/Photo: D1Baseball.com
Tancas got the Long Beach State offense started/Photo: D1Baseball.com

Fullerton starter Connor Seabold settled down after the rough first inning, but only threw 5.1 innings due to a high pitch count (101). Jack Pabich cleaned up, pitching the final 2.2 innings, giving up just one hit.

McCaughan dominant, Rivera escapes trouble in the ninth

The Dirtbags ace was perfect through the first four innings before hitting Timmy Richards to lead off the fifth. He was quickly erased on a double play by Hank LoForte. McCaughan issued a pair of walks sandwiched around a fielder's choice in the sixth before striking out a pair. In the seventh, a two-out double by Taylor Bryant was wasted when Hunter Cullen grounded out to second to end the inning.

After three relievers escaped a jam in the eighth, leaving a Titans runner at third, closer Chris Rivera came on in the ninth. He hit Dillon Persinger and Richards followed with a single to put runners at first and second with no one out before LoForte struck out. Bryant singled to load the bases before Rivera struck out Cullen and Chris Hudgins to end the game and put the Dirtbags a win away from the College World Series.

Game 2 is Saturday afternoon at Blair Field.